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Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Comes to USD

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Take a journey through the depths of the deep South this Friday with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, whose body work has been described as “muscular, luminous poems (that) explore the complex memory of the American South.”

She’ll take the stage at USD as the focus of the Cropper Writers’ Series; her most recent collection of poems, Native Guard, explores the story of one of the first black regiments to fight during the Civil War. The work is said to be “both a pilgrimage and an elegy,” in which Trethewey “skillfully employs a variety of poetic forms to create a lyrical monument to these forgotten voices.”

Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Native Guard, becoming on the fourth African American to win the esteemed award. The book includes passages that honor her mother and recalls her parent’s interracial marriage, which was still illegal in 1966 in Mississippi. The poet brings a tremendous strength to the Cropper Writers’ series through her work, which focuses on the public and personal aspects of ancestral remembrance.

Her other works include Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002) — which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association — and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard (a fellowship that USD creative writing professor and respected poet Jericho Brown,has also recently received). Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2003. Currently, she is the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University. — Denise T. Ward

Natasha Trethewey is the featured artist at the Cropper Writer Series event on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. The Cropper Writer’s series is hosted by the Lyndsay J. Cropper Center for Creative Writing, which aims to foster the appreciation and practice of creative writing at the University of San Diego by sponsoring writing workshops, promoting the development of writing courses and giving awards for creative writing. Admission to the Cropper Writer’s Series is free and open to the public. For more information, click here. 

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